How lucky am I…..?

So many opportunities have come my way since being diagnosed with dementia. It was a very lonely place to begin with, people abandoning you, not knowing where to turn or what to do. But the glass half full person in me wasn’t ready to give up on myself and I went about looking at how I could share my diagnosis for the good of others. It didn’t come easy in the beginning. No one knew me, people didn’t see what I could bring to the table. But I kept banging on doors and now thankfully, on many occasions, people bang on my door.

It’s lovely to get requests to speak in different environments to different professionals. So it’s that very scenario that saw me trundling up to Stirling University on Tuesday…….a very long journey, yes, but wonderful views and they’d kindly offered to accommodate me for 2 nights so I wouldn’t have the long journey back after speaking.

It’s times like this when I wish I could drive again as it would be lovely to explore all the wonderful places I’m invited to but sad that I can only venture a little way in a straight line so I can find my way back! But I still saw some beautiful scenery.

And so it was yesterday that I had the pleasure of speaking to students on their Masters in Dementia Studies course.. The course is aimed at practitioners who work in the field and wish to develop their skills and knowledge of dementia care and support. It’s a distance learning course but at the beginning of each semester they hold a campus introductory day and invite any students who are able to attend. Richard Ward, the Course Director had invited me ages ago after telling me my book was on the core reading list for the course and set text for the second year module☺️

The students come from a diverse range of backgrounds including hospitals, care homes, community-based services and day care to name a few.

After the wonderful trundle and beautiful views of Tuesday, I had a very restless night and woke up with a banging head and painful face. My Fitbit confirmed my feeling of a bad night. The thin red lines showing my wake, sleep, wake sleep ……

I checked my tablet box but I had taken my jaw tablets so goodness knows why. I’d also forgotten, what I call, my head tablets – these just help me calm a banging head but they must be in my little suitcase🙈🔫

Really didn’t feel on top form, but as is often on these days, I’ll walk into a roomful of smiley faces and all will be well in the world. Fingers crossed.

Twitter had been lovely with lots of messages from students who will be there.

I wasn’t being picked up until lunchtime so I took the opportunity to walk round the Loch and get more piccies. I knew my favourite species, Students, would redirect me if I got lost and the ones that walked by were all smiley so I knew I’d be in safe hands.

The views were stunning……

Anyway, back to the reason I was there! Grant came to pick me up at the agreed time and we walked to the Iris Murdoch centre a short walk away.

We arrived to find everyone having stopped for lunch, so a cuppa tea appeared and I was happy. Sooo many lovely Twitter friends came and said hello, but I wasn’t typing 🙈 so can’t remember their names.

Richard, the course director introduced himself and we sat with cuppa teas appearing out of nowhere😊 Because I wasn’t typing, I havn’t a clue what we chatted about but I just remember lots of lovely people and smiley faces.

After lunch was finished it was my turn. I spoke for about 50 minutes (Ithink!🙄) about this that and everything. It included this bit on allowing us to live not exist:

Which brings me onto positive risk taking…..so often for the kindest of reason people wrap us in cotton wool. We become labelled as a ‘vulnerable adult’. I recently saw my medical history and on the 17th May 2018 I became a vulnerable adult. Goodness knows what happened on that day but it’s there in black and white. Maybe it was the day I did a Firewalk for my local hospice or went up in a glider which was a birthday present from my daughters….goodness knows what I’ll be labelled on the 9th March this year as that’s when I hope to do a Skydive for Young Dementia UK”

There was time for a few questions at the end. It seemed to go down well from the lovely comments afterwards. They recorded the talk, which is always nice. In return they all allowed me to have a piccie with them outside with the hills in the background.…

Before I finally left they asked if they could film me answering some question for a 2 minute clip upstairs. So after waving goodbye to all the smiley faces we trundled upstairs and recorded a short clip – again, havn’t a clue what about but I remember we laughed a lot in the process 😂. And it gave another opportunity for a piccie in a mock up of a living room…..

Someone lovely walked me back to the hotel where I’m typing this before the memory disappears. What a wonderful afternoon with amazing people. Exhausted but the smiley faces sorted out my pain…..Thank you Stirling😊

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

18 thoughts on “How lucky am I…..?

  1. You absolutely amaze me. I’ve never had a stranger to amaze me lol I read one of your blogs yesterday & before I knew it, I read 4 or 5. And started telling my husband about you when he got home……& read a blog or 2 to him. His dad had dementia. Your words touched him. They have him a little insight into what his dad must have felt & thought a lot of the times. Ty 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you Wendy for your positive approach to everything you do. An inspiration for so many that’s for sure. The “language demon” yet again trying to knock you back but you as the rest of us know you will ride that storm and emerge stronger. My mum’s DoLs documentation arrived yesterday and the language used wasn’t uplifting or positive in any way that I could detect. It’s back in it’s envelope and filed away as I get on with trying to help my mum live as best she can. After all it’s taken almost 2 years for our local council to produce this after the required application by the care home in March 2017. It beggars belief that they can make you feel so miserable as they tick the boxes on their checklist! I find the old saying “actions speak louder than words” so appropriate 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The problem is that professionals use such words as “vulnerable adult”, which are gateway words as they open up opportunities for us, without realising their impact on those still able to comprehend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have recently been reading books by Brené Brown about living a “wholehearted” life. She says that being vulnerable (e.g. allowing ourselves to risk failure) is crucial if we want to experience new things and to live as well as possible. So, although I know it’s not what the medics mean, maybe you should view the label with pride?

      Liked by 1 person

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